Academic degrees

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William Franke

Department of French and Italian email:

Vanderbilt University telephone: (615) 322-6900

Nashville, Tennessee fax: (615) 322-6909


1988-91 Stanford University, Ph. D. in Comparative Literature

1986-88 University of California at Berkeley, M.A. in Comparative Literature

1978-80 Oxford University, M.A. in Philosophy and Theology

1974-78 Williams College, B.A. in Philosophy, summa cum laude

1991 - present Vanderbilt University (USA)

Professor of Comparative Literature and Italian

and Professor of Religious Studies

2013 - 2016 University of Macao (China, SAR)

Professor Catedrático of Philosophy, Head of Philosophy and Religious Studies Program

2012 University of Hong Kong, hired as Professor of European Studies with first-year leave

International Visiting Appointments and Teaching Abroad

  1. Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Intercultural Theology and Study of Religion,

University of Salzburg, Center for Intercultural Theology and Study of Religions

(Zentrum Theologie Interkulturell und Studium der Religionen), 2006-07

  1. Philosophy Department, University of Frankfurt, Block-Seminar: “Apophatische Theologie und neuzeitliche Philosophie,” Summer Semester 2016

  2. Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Hong Kong, Fall 2005

  3. Visiting Fellow in Philosophy and Religions, University of Macao (China), Fall 2011

  4. Research Scholar in Residence, University of Salzburg (Austria), Summer 2008

  5. Professor of French in Residence, Vanderbilt-in-France, Aix-en-Provence, Spring and Fall 2008


  1. Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Full-year research fellowship in Germany, 1994-95

(affiliated with Universität Potsdam, sponsored by Prof. Dr. Helena Harth)

  1. Bogliasco Foundation (Genova, Italy), Fellow in Philosophy, Spring 2006

  2. Camargo Foundation (Cassis, France), Residential Research Fellowship, Fall 2000

  3. Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities (Vanderbilt), Fellow, 1995-96

(year-long weekly seminar on the Millennium, with stipend)

  1. Stanford Fellowship (in lieu of New Century Fellowship at University of Chicago

and University Fellowship at Yale), 1988-91

  1. John E. Moody Scholarship, Oxford University, 1978-80

Honors and Awards

  1. Senior Fellow, The International Institute for Hermeneutics (IIH), 2015-present

  2. HolyLit: Religion and Literature, Freie Universität Berlin & Harvard University, 2016

  3. Certificate of Appreciation, Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, Philippines, 2015

  4. Dante Society Executive Council, by general election of the Dante Society of America, 2007-2010

  5. Rosenberg Poetry Prize, UC Berkeley, 1987

  6. Skeat-Whitfield Essay Prize in English, Oxford University, 1979

  7. John W. Miller Prize in Philosophy, Williams College, 1978

  8. Phi Beta Kappa, 1977

Grants and Stipends

  1. Multi-Year Research Grant, Level IV (highest) 1,500,000 MOP (= 152,000 Euros or $188,000 USD) from Macao Government for “Apophatic Paths from Europe to China” research project (2014-17)

  2. Start-Up Research Grant, 150,000 MOP (=18,800 USD), University of Macao, 2013

  3. Research Scholar Grant for translation into German of Poetry and Apocalypse,

Vanderbilt University Research Council, Summer 2008-09

  1. Research Grant for On What Cannot Be Said, Vanderbilt University Research Council, 2002

  2. Travel Awards from the Istituto Italiano per gli studi filosofici, Naples, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998

  3. Direct Research Support Grant, Vanderbilt University Research Council, Summer 1996

  4. Summer Research Grant, Vanderbilt University Research Council, Italy 1992


  1. A Theology of Literature: The Bible as Revelation in the Tradition of the Humanities

Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 150-200 pages, forthcoming

Cascade Companions series, Cascade Books Imprint

  1. Apophatic Paths from Europe to China: Regions Without Borders

Albany: State University of New York Press, forthcoming

Series on Chinese Philosophy and Culture, edited by Roger Ames

  1. Secular Scriptures: Modern Theological Poetics in the Wake of Dante

Columbus: Ohio State University Press: 2016 (256 + xii pages)

Literature, Religion, and Postsecular Studies series, edited by Lori Branch

  1. The Revelation of Imagination:

From the Bible and Homer through Virgil and Augustine to Dante

Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2015 (424 + xii pages)

  1. A Philosophy of the Unsayable

Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2014 (384 + viii pages)

  1. Dante and the Sense of Transgression: ‘The Trespass of the Sign’

London and New York: Continuum [Bloomsbury Academic], 2013

New Directions in Religion and Literature Series,

edited by Mark Knight and Emma Mason (200 + xv pages)

  1. Poetry and Apocalypse: Theological Disclosures of Poetic Language

Stanford: Stanford University Press: 2009 (211 + xiv pages)
Translated into German by Ursula Liebing and Michael Sonntag as:

Dichtung und Apokalypse: Theologische Erschliessungen der dichterischen Sprache

Aus dem Amerikanischen von Ursula Liebing und Michael Sonntag

Salzburger Theologische Studien Band 39 (Interkulturell 6)

Innsbruck: Tyrolia Verlag, 2011 (216 pages)

  1. On What Cannot Be Said: Apophatic Discourses in Philosophy, Religion, Literature, and the Arts Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2007.

Edited with Theoretical and Critical Essays by William Franke

Vol. I: Classic Formulations (401 + xi pages)

  1. On What Cannot Be Said: Apophatic Discourses in Philosophy, Religion, Literature, and the Arts Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2007.

Edited with Theoretical and Critical Essays by William Franke

Vol. II: Modern and Contemporary Transformations (480 + viii pages)

  1. Dante’s Interpretive Journey

Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996 (242 + xi pages)

Religion and Postmodernism series, edited by Mark C. Taylor

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